I Voted . . .

. . . and I'm glad I took the time to do so, even if it doesn't matter so much this late in the primary season.

beth's signature

Recipe Swap: Frozen Fruit Smoothies

I didn't think this would be so difficult, but really I've been wracking my brain trying to come up with a healthy snack that we enjoy. I thought of my wonderful fruit dip, and ran over the ingredient list in my head.

It has yogurt in it. That's healthy!

And cream cheese! Hmmm, wait.

Oh, and marshmallow fluff. Ya know, maybe it's not so healthy.

So, this is the best I could come up with. It's been a while since I've made these, but they are yummy! I use frozen fruit instead of ice so it doesn't have a watered-down taste. Enjoy!

Frozen Fruit Smoothies

1 cup frozen fruit (strawberries, peaches, and blueberries are all yummy)
1 small banana (or add a little extra frozen fruit)
1 carton sweetened yogurt, any flavor (I use the store brand, but I can't remember what size. Maybe 8 oz?)

Put ingredients into blender, pulse until smooth. Pour into chilled glasses. Serves 1 big glass or 2 small ones

For other great healthy snacks, visit The Natural Mommy!

beth's signature

Recipe Swap '08

Beth over at The Natural Mommy is hosting a brand-new fantabulous event on Thursdays! I'm so excited I think I'll explode. (Okay. Not really.) But just to be safe, head on over there and see what the fuss is about. And just for fun, I'm putting her cute little button on my blog. :-)

beth's signature

Sunday Ponderings: Remembering the Gospel

Welcome to the first edition of "Sunday Ponderings" here at Onward and Upward! The purpose of this is to remember and reflect on various aspects of Sunday worship--anything from the hymns to the sermon. I tend to easily forget what I learn during the service, so this is a wonderful way for me to remember by writing it down to collect my thoughts. To participate, blog your own "Sunday Ponderings" post and add it to the Mr. Linky below. Sometime later this week I'll provide the information for the button to put on your own blog, if you want to. Thanks so much to Ashley for the work on this!

This week's sermon was preached by our associate pastor on 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, 2:1-5:

10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe's people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

2:1 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, 4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
He reminded us to be singularly focused on the gospel. It is very easy in our study or witnessing to focus on our favorite preachers and writers instead. Like in the passage when people claimed to follow Apollos or Paul, we may find ourselves listening to the gospel according to others. (Not that it's a bad thing to study more mature Christian's works, but we must be careful to not elevate it too highly.) We must be careful not to attach other things to the gospel message as well. We preach Christ crucified, not Christ crucified and keep all your ducks in a row to get to heaven. We must also not let ourselves get in the way as we share the gospel, as Paul says not to preach with "words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power." We should not focus so much on what to say or how to say it to give us the best light. We should not be ashamed of our stuttering selves when we share the Good News.

Do you have a Sunday Pondering? Feel free to share!

beth's signature

New Life

beth's signature

Happy birtrhday . . .

. . . to my favorite red-haired sister!

Blast. No pictures of us together during her recent visit here. I need to get her to send me some! :-)

beth's signature


I've been reading Louisa May Alcott's classic "Little Women" for the first time since elementary school, and I had forgotten what a charming little book it is. I only remembered bits and pieces of it, and that is mostly from the Winona Rider version of the movie, but of course the book is much better!

I just finished a chapter entitled "Experiments," where the two oldest March sisters find out they have a summer to do as they please. The younger two decide they want to spend their days as carefree as well, and their mother decides this would be a great lesson for them all. The girls neglect their chores and play and do as they please, only to find themselves bored and irritable. Towards the end of the chapter, Mrs. March feigns fatigue and allows their maid to have the day off, and instructs the girls to take care of themselves as they desire. The day turns into a disaster, and they discover just how valuable, meaningful, and enjoyable work can be.

What a wonderful chapter this was! Hard work, especially around the house, is something that I sometimes have a lot of trouble bringing myself to do. The chapter made a point to emphasis the little touches that made their home comfortable--a fresh flower in a vase, a freshly made bed, and so on. They dearly miss these things when no one is up for doing them. I would love to have a home that is as cozy, but my laziness usually wins out.

I found the benefit of a well-kept home appealing, but also just the appreciation of a job well done. The March sisters learn what trouble and discontent happens when one is idle, and what joy one has when work is done well. This is a lesson I still am learning, and I hope it is one I will take to heart.

beth's signature

My Kitty Learned a New Trick

While watching American Idol, I happened to glance over at the built-in bookcase to see my fat cat with her paws on the second shelf, perusing the titles we have there. Then, she decided to glance at one further, and proceeded to pull it off the shelf to see the cover. She's such a bookworm! :-)

Naturally, the book falling on the floor startled her and she didn't try to read it further. Ah well. I'm glad to know she's interested.

beth's signature

Sunday Ponderings: I'm hosting!

Ashley has decided to pare down her blog a bit, and has graciously asked me to host "Sunday Ponderings." I am delighted to do it! The idea behind this carnival is to spend time reflecting on various aspects of Sunday worship, whether it be the music, the sermon, or any Scripture passages during the service. I've found that worship has much more meaningful for me as I ponder each service during the quiet afternoon around the house.

Each week, I'll be posting an article here, along with a Mr. Linky for those who write their own posts. I'll try to provide a new graphic for those interested as well. So join me next week as I begin hosting! :-)

beth's signature

More on My Recent Cleaning Efforts

I spent a few hours last weekend rooting through all the stuff in my closet, and feel that I only came a little closer to getting it all clean. The picture below is after I removed one trash bag of junk and one of stuff for Goodwill. It's kinda depressing to see how much farther I need to go!

I'm sure in the long run this cleaning adventure will be for my benefit. I can't remember where I saw this, but I think it was A Gracious Home: that when purging stuff, one should consider every item, even sentimental ones, on whether it would be replaced if it was lost in a fire. Pondering over that remark really makes me reflect on most of the stuff I have in that closet; items I never use and only see every 6 months. I hold on to things because I remember how much money I blew on them when I thought they were important, or I can remember who gave me such and such and I don't want to hurt their feelings by throwing it away even though it's been in the closet for five years.

This weekend I planning on doing some more purging. Hopefully I can dump another trash bag full.

beth's signature

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

We sang this hymn during church this past Sunday, and I thought it would be a wonderful way to celebrate Valentine's Day by remembering our Saviour's love for us.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

beth's signature

Why I Need to Plan Ahead

Due to an overly long episode of American Idol and preparations for a dinner party tomorrow evening, there will be no regularly scheduled posting.

Someday I'll keep finished drafts in my box to post for nights like this, just like the really cool bloggers do.

beth's signature

Getting Rid of Stuff

One of the things that doesn't tend to bother me is a little bit of clutter, but now that I'm getting older, the degree of clutter I can tolerate is growing smaller and smaller. I've found that opening my closet door is cause for alarm, and getting ready for work in the morning tends to be a nightmare. Here is my closet in its present state:

All of my sewing supplies, important papers, etc, are buried somewhere in that pile. I have to remove all the stuff on the floor just to get at it. One of my more superficial reasons for cleaning out the closet is so that this bookshelf--

--will be put in the closet. Our overly fat black cat (whom we affectionately call "Tubby" when she's not listening) likes to awaken us with the nails-on-a-chalkboard sound of books ripping, at 5 a.m. no less. I'd like to put the shelf in the closet to keep her away from it, instead of the lovely towel-jacket-pillow draping combination you see here.

I spent an hour and a half cleaning it tonight, with the end result being the removal of one trash bag of junk, and one of stuff for Goodwill. Yet, it still looks the same. I realize that my closet stores other stuff besides my clothes (luggage, sewing supplies, and so on), but I still have a long way to go.

beth's signature

Sunday Ponderings: Severe Mercy

Our pastor continued this week with the series on Joseph. My posting so far has been sporadic, but you can see other sermon summaries here and here. This week focused on Joseph's reconciliation with his brothers.

The passage today was from Genesis 42-45. Our pastor discussed several themes from this passage, including the importance of communication in reconciliation, Joseph's wisdom in his testing and mercy towards his brothers, and so forth. While all of that was wonderful, I want to highlight the imagery of Christ found in this passage. (Read or skim the passage so this will make sense!)

After the brothers leave Egypt for the second time, with Benjamin by their side, a messenger comes back to them saying that the royal silver cup had been stolen. All of the brothers said they had not taken it, and that whoever had should surely die. The cup was found in Benjamin's sack. Upon returning to Egypt, Judah, who had previously offered up Joseph to the Ishmaelite traders as a slave, offered himself in Benjamin's place. He said to Joseph:

Now therefore, please let your servant remain instead of the boy as a servant to my lord, and let the boy go back with his brothers. For how can I go back to my father if the boy is not with me? I fear to see the evil that would find my father.
Judah offers to die in his brother's place, just as Christ does for us.

Later, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers, and acknowledges the Lord's sovereign work in his life. He mentions to them how he was sent ahead to preserve their lives, for he was over all the grain storehouses of Egypt while there was famine in the land. God used the tragedy from Joseph's youth to bring salvation to His people, both spiritually and physically.

While neither Judah or Joseph are like Christ exactly, since they were far from perfect, the imagery is striking, don't you think? I love how this story points forward to Christ's perfect redeeming work for us. How much more is His love for us than even the love among brothers.

beth's signature

Coming Up

I plan on tackling my overflowing closet over the next few weekends, for various reasons. (I've attempted this before, to no avail.) I'll try to post pictures of its present state tomorrow, since I'm tired and want to go to bed.

beth's signature

The Weekend

As I mentioned before, my sister visited me this past weekend. It was her first time in Houston, and it was wonderful to show her around.

Saturday Stu and I picked her up from the nearby airport, grabbed breakfast at the coolest neighborhood IHop, then headed back home to our apartment for the "grand" tour (All 710 square feet of it!) Stu had to work afterwards, so Julie and I walked on over to CVS and Walgreen's to kill some time. At dinner, we headed out to the Galleria, which is one of the biggest malls in Texas. We at dinner at one of our favorite restaurants: The Cheesecake Factory. A yummy meal was had by all. :-)

Sunday Julie and I headed to the grocery store to pick up supplies for our favorite party snacks in preparation for the Super Bowl. (which was an outstanding game, by the way.) We made our family's traditional Tex-Mex dip and ate that for dinner, along with some homemade Puppy Chow for dessert. We spent the evening relaxing, watching the game, then introducing Julie to House, a favorite show of ours that Julie had never seen before.

On Monday, Stu, Julie, and I toured around my place of work, and she got to meet all my co-workers. After the tour, we took the MetroRail up to the Houston Zoo, where we had a wonderful time seeing all the animals, especially the giraffes and elephants. The lion and tiger exhibits were closed for renovations, however. I wonder if that had anything to do with that tiger attack in San Francisco a few months ago?

Tuesday Stu had to work, so Julie and I slept the morning away before walking up to a nearby shopping center and visiting two really cool stores I had never been to before. One sold British wares, and had the most adorable teapots, as well as all the fixings for a British tea! The other store sold handicrafts from artists in Third World countries, in which they were paid fair wages for their work. There were some beautiful items there. I will definitely have to go back to both! After that, Stu met us and we grabbed some coffee, then headed to the farmers market.

It was an absolutely wonderful weekend, and it was so wonderful to spend time with my sister whom I don't see very often at all. I've been craving more time with my sisters ever since I've moved to Houston, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to spend time with one of them. Growing up, Julie and I didn't get along very well at times, but this past weekend we were almost like best friends. I feel like I got to know her so much better during her time visiting. If only I could move back to Georgia and see both of them more often!

(Alas, I have no pictures. I always forget to use my camera!)

beth's signature

A Quick Breath of Air

It was so incredible to have my sister for a visit this past weekend, but with all the driving, car-shuffling, forgotten-item-shipping, and other odds and ends the past few days, I haven't had a chance to catch up on my real life. I'll explain more about the weekend later.

Today was spent get the apartment back in a semblance of order, so now that the house is clean and it is well past my bedtime, blogging will have to wait.

beth's signature

What will you guys do without me?

I have an actual, real-life guest coming in this weekend for a wonderfully cheery visit. So, blogging may slow for a bit over the next few days. Don't miss me too much. :-)

beth's signature


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.